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August 2017 Issue
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Montane Grand Tour 55l

Price:

$249

Our Rating:

This is a midsize top-loading alpine pack with an emphasis on simplicity, comfort and weight-saving.

Despite weighing a mere 1350g the Grand Tour 55 has plenty of storage options. In addition to the main single compartment and two lid pockets, there are six stretch mesh pockets. I found the hip belt pockets a bit small, and the zips have a vexing tendency to open, but they are useful for stashing snacks. Two vertical zippered mesh pouches provide ample room for gear you might want to keep handy.

Montane has opted for a stretch lid with a single buckle to hold it down. This weight-saving design works surprisingly well, though the lid does have a tendency to slump to the side if the pack is relatively empty. The Grand Tour 55 doesn’t look like it would hold 55 litres until you realise that much of its capacity is in the extendable lid. Double-cinch strings and internal clip to separate the load or secure a rope are handy and user-friendly features.

One of the pack’s strengths is how comfortable it is, despite the minimalist harness system. A removable framesheet and stay distribute the load comfortably between shoulders and hips, and the hipbelt is cushy without being bulky. That said, a friend who tried the pack didn’t find it as comfortable as I did – a reminder to try packs on before committing.

The pack’s chief weakness is its durability. After a couple of days use in the bush, the mesh pockets had several tears. The clips and buckles look on the flimsy side, too.

If you are looking for a lightweight pack to use on track or exclusively in the alpine, the Grand Tour is a good choice.

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